Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘interstellar travel

So, So, So Many Wednesday Links!

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* Just in time for my next trip to Liverpool, the research from my last trip to Liverpool five years ago is finally published! “‘A Dread Mystery, Compelling Adoration’: Olaf Stapledon, Star Maker, and Totality.”

* Social Text interviews Fredric Jameson: “Revisiting Postmodernism.”

Is this sympathy for these arts of the past why in your recent work you returned to questions of modernism and realism?

The series you are alluding to [The Poetics of Social Forms] was always planned that way. I mean, I started with utopias, that is, science fiction and the future; then I went to postmodernism, which is the present, and so I’m making my way back into a certain past—to realism and then on to allegory and to epic and finally to narrative itself, which has always been my primary interest. Maybe indeed I have less to say about contemporary works than about even the recent past; or let’s say I have built up a certain capital of reading but am not making any new and exciting investments any longer. It’s a problem: you can either read or write, but time intervenes, and you have to choose between them. Still, I feel that I always discover new things about the present when working on these moments of the past. Allegory, for example, is both antiquated and surprisingly actual, and the work on museum pieces suddenly proves to make you aware of present-day processes that you weren’t aware of.

* George Saunders has finally written a novel, and I’d bet it’s not what you were expecting.

* Marquette will pilot a J-term.

* Earth First, Then Mars: An Interview with Kim Stanley Robinson.

* Relatedly: Would it be immoral to send out a generation starship?

The Tuskegee Experiment Kept Killing Black People Decades After It Ended.

* A Brief History of Marilyn Monroe Reading Ulysses. Nabokov’s Hand-Drawn Map of Ulysses.

ClcQJJfWQAA_kon* Donald Trump Far Behind Hillary Clinton in Campaign Cash. More. More. More! The only credible answer is that it is difficult or perhaps even impossible for him to produce these comparatively small sums. If that’s true, his claim to be worth billions of dollars must either be a pure sham and a fraud or some artful concoction of extreme leverage and accounting gimmickry, which makes it impossible to come up with actual cash. Even the conservative NRO! Unraveling Con. The United States of Trump. Will Trump Swallow the GOP Whole? This number in Donald Trump’s very bad fundraising report will really worry GOP donors. The Weird Mad Men Connection. There is “Incredibly Strong Evidence” Donald Trump Has Committed Tax Fraud. And these had already happened before the FEC report: Ryan Instructs Republicans to Follow Their ‘Conscience’ on Trump. Scott Walker agrees! Top GOP Consultant Unleashes Epic #NeverTrump Tweetstorm. Donald Trump Agreed to Call 24 Donors, Made It Through Three Before Giving Up. And the polls, my god, the polls. There Is No Trump Campaign. If things go on this way, can the Democrats retake the House? Endgame for the grift, just as Alyssa Rosenberg tried to warn us. How to Trump.

But this one is still my favorite:

* Meanwhile, the DNC’s oppo file on Trump seems surprisingly thin. This Is the Only Good Oppo Research the DNC Has on Trump.

In a Chicago Tribune article from 1989 (which Buzzfeed actually discovered just under a week ago), Donald Trump reveals that he “doesn’t believe in reincarnation, heaven, or hell.” As far as the DNC is concerned, though, it’s Trump’s apparent lack of faith in God’s eternal kingdom, specifically, that’s damning enough for use as ammo.

* Read Sonia Sotomayor’s Atomic Bomb of a Dissent Slamming Racial Profiling and Mass Imprisonment.

* Cognitive dissonance watch: Could Congress Have Stopped Omar Mateen From Getting His Guns? Gun control’s racist reality: The liberal argument against giving police more power. How I Bought an AR-15 in a Five Guys Parking Lot.

Anti-Brexit British MP Assassinated on the Street.

Venezuelans Ransack Stores as Hunger Grips the Nation.

The TSA Is Bad Because We Demand That It Be Bad. One Woman’s Case Proves: It’s Basically Impossible to Get Off the ‘No-Fly List.’

* The hack that could take down New York City.

* Rethinking teaching evaluations.

* Study Finds 1 out of 10 Cal State Students is Homeless.

What Are College Governing Boards Getting From Their Search Firms?

Saying victims are to blame, at least in part, for their sexual assaults is a legal tactic used by many colleges accused of negligence.

How Not to Write About College Students and Free Speech.

* Once they killed a president with a diet of beef bouillon, egg yolks, milk, whiskey and drops of opium, delivered rectally.

* A map of North America, in Tolkien’s style. Keep scrolling! There’s many more links below.

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On Thursday, Philadelphia became the first major US city to adopt a tax on carbonated and sugary drinks. I’d rather see an outright ban than an attempt to turn it into a permanent revenue stream. New “soda tax” measures show just how narrow the liberal vision has become.

* Missing Barnes and Noble.

It’s not the right question to ask “how do I get 200 students with laptops in a lecture hall to learn my course material?” Why are they in a lecture hall for 50 minutes, three days a week for 15 weeks or whatever the schedule is? Why do they need to learn the material in your course?

* The illusion of progress: Ditching the headphone jack on phones makes them worse.

* The mind behind UnREAL.

* We’re All Forum Writers Now.

Space Travel Has ‘Permanent Effects,’ Astronaut Scott Kelly Says.

* Sherryl Vint on China Miéville’s The Census-Taker, a book that wasn’t especially well-received by the other critics I’ve read.

At the moment, Netflix has a negative cash flow of almost $1 billion; it regularly needs to go to the debt market to replenish its coffers. Its $6.8 billion in revenue last year pales in comparison to the $28 billion or so at media giants like Time Warner and 21st Century Fox. And for all the original shows Netflix has underwritten, it remains dependent on the very networks that fear its potential to destroy their longtime business model in the way that internet competitors undermined the newspaper and music industries. Now that so many entertainment companies see it as an existential threat, the question is whether Netflix can continue to thrive in the new TV universe that it has brought into being.

* Waukegan group offers tours to raise awareness for proposed Ray Bradbury museum.

* What’s happening in Oakland is incredible.

* #TheWakandaSyllabus. Trump 101. A response to the Trump Syllabus.

* Secrets of my blogging: Study: 70% of Facebook users only read the headline of science stories before commenting.

Homeless in Seattle: five essays.

* Jay Edidin on How to Be a Guy: After Orlando.

* Cunning Sansa, or Dim Sansa? Game of Thrones’ bungled Arya plot explains why George R.R. Martin’s taking so long to finish the books.

* Presenting the world’s ugliest color.

The Unbelievable Tale of Jesus’s Wife. I want to believe!

* “People believe that a plane is less likely to crash if a famous person is among the passengers.”

* Death of a startup.

* Such a sad story: Alligator Drags Off 2-Year-Old at Disney Resort in Orlando. My son turns two today, which is almost too much to bear in juxtaposition with this headline.

* The Pixar Theory of Labor.

* The boys are back in town. It’s too late for you. It’s too late for all of us now.

Now new research helps explain the parental happiness gap, suggesting it’s less about the children and more about family support in the country where you live.

The Microsoft founder and philanthropist recently said he would donate 100,000 hens to countries with high poverty levels, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa but including Bolivia. Bolivia produces 197m chickens annually and has the capacity to export 36m, the local poultry producing association said.

* “Why Chris Pine says you can’t make Star Trek cerebral in 2016.” Respectfully disagree. Meanwhile, sad news in advance of next month’s release of Star Trek Beyond.

That Scrapped Star Wars TV Show Would’ve Starred a Sympathetic, Heartbroken Emperor. Sounds like they were aiming at a version of Daredevil‘s Kingpin plot.

* Laying down my marker now that Flashpoint won’t save The Flash from its downward spiral. Meanwhile, DC seems utterly spooked by the failure of Batman v. Superman and has opened the set of Justice League to reporters to try to spin a new narrative. Lynda Carter is your new POTUS on CW’s Supergirl. Syfy’s Krypton Show Already Sounds Goofy as Shit.

There really was a creepy fifth housemate lurking in cult British TV show The Young Ones.

* In praise of She-Ra.

* Two thousand miles away from the U.S. A-bomb tests in 1945, something weird was happening to Kodak’s film.

Why NASA sent 3 defenseless Legos to die on Jupiter. Earth’s New ‘Quasi’ Moon Will Stick Around for Centuries. Astronomers say there could be at least 2 more mystery planets in our Solar System.

Proportional Pie Chart of the World’s Most Spoken Languages.

* True stories from my childhood having purchased the wrong video game system: 10 of the best Sega Genesis games that deserve a comeback.

* Life is short, though I keep this from my children.

* And Quantum Leap is back, baby! I have five spec scripts in my desk ready to go.

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Written by gerrycanavan

June 22, 2016 at 9:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Weekend Links! Piping Hot!

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* Don’t forget! The deadline for the SFFTV special issue on the Mad Max franchise is February 1.

* The local beat! The day Milwaukee almost killed the NFL.

Expert says Michigan officials changed a Flint lead report to avoid federal action. Bernie calls on Snyder to resign. This is how toxic Flint’s water really is.

* A Bonus Keyword for the Age of Austerity this week: Meritocracy.

* The end of Al Jazeera America.

NYPD Demands a Mere $36,000 “Copying Fee” for Access to Cops’ Body Cam Footage.

* I don’t want to tell anyone how to do their jobs, but this seems sacrilegious to me.

What a time to be alive.

* Lotteryville, USA.

* Rickman, Bowie, and class mobility.

* David Bowie, Nazi.

* Teach the controversy: thebeatlesneverexisted.com

* The latest from KSR: What Will It Take for Humans to Colonize the Milky Way?

* The game’s afoot! Something Is Killing Off America’s Orange Supply.

The incredible tale of irresponsible chocolate milk research at the University of Maryland.

* A genetic map of the UK.

* Race and the NCAA.

Girl Suspended for 30 Days Because She Lent Her Inhaler to a Gasping Classmate.

* Throw a save against narcissistic self-regard: “Role-playing Gamers Have More Empathy Than Non-Gamers.”

Retired Art Teacher Leaves $1.7 Million to the Detroit Institute of Arts.

* Lead and crime, part 83.

* Immediately greenlit.

* 2016 pessimism watch: Democrats are in more trouble than they think. And changing demographics won’t save them.

For most of human history, the stars told us where we were in space and time. Have we forgotten how to look up?

* My people? 0.0% of Icelanders 25 years or younger believe God created the world, new poll reveals.

* Forever reTumblr.

* And “Late stage capitalism” is the new “Christ, what an asshole.”

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Tuesday Night

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Wednesday Links

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* …American University professor Allan Lichtman, “whose election formula has correctly called every president since Ronald Reagan’s 1984 re-election,” says Obama is a shoo-in. My two-pronged election formula [(1) Is everything terrible? (2) Is one of the parties visibly insane?] put Obama’s chances at 50-50. I guess we’ll see.

* Yes please: DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, is planning on disbursing a $500,000 grant in November for interstellar starship research.

* Crimes against the future: “The Murdoch Media Empire Has Cost Humanity Perhaps One or Two Decades in Battle Against Climate Change.”

* ‘Overhyped’ Hurricane Irene Likely To Be One Of The 10 Costliest Disasters Ever.

* 25 Corporations Paid More To Their CEO Last Year Than They Paid In Taxes.

* Stephen King’s Under the Dome will come to Showtime.

* Shaviro on post-continuity.

In my book Post-Cinematic Affect (2010), I argue that American commercial filmmaking has, in the last decade or so, been increasingly characterized by what I call the stylistics of post-continuity. This is a filmmaking practice in which a preoccupation with moment-to-moment excitement, and with delivering continual shocks to the audience, trumps any concern with traditional continuity, either on a shot-by-shot level or in terms of larger narrative structures.

* Play around with this and make some art with fractals.

* And a very happy birthday to #7,000,000,000.

Monday Night Links

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* Why we need a death penalty for corporations: BP is known to have skimped on safety devices to save money and is now alleged by one of its employees to have drilled deeper than the depth allowed by law.

* Related: Schwarzenegger cancels California offshore drilling project. Current estimates say it will take three months to contain the spill; could this be enough to revive the environmental movement?

* Two on space exploration: “The Myth of the Starship” and “The Wealth of Constellations.”

* Wingnut watch: GOP’s Candidate for Gov In Minnesota Wants To Nullify All Federal Laws.

* “Under this view CIA drone pilots are liable to prosecution under the law of any jurisdiction where attacks occur for any injuries, deaths or property damage they cause,” Glazier continued. “But under the legal theories adopted by our government in prosecuting Guantánamo detainees, these CIA officers as well as any higher-level government officials who have authorized or directed their attacks are committing war crimes.”

* Can’t resist posting this one: Brain shuts off in response to healer’s prayer.

* Nihilo sanctum estne? Boing Boing has a trailer for a porn parody of the classic 1960s Batman TV show.

* Also at Boing Boing: Stephen Hawking’s instructions on how to build a time machine.

* And Feministe reports on news that if you wear tight jeans, you can’t be raped.

‘a collective loss of faith in the old dream of space travel beyond our solar system’

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Alastair Reynolds, echoing Ian McDonald, writes that “SF might be on the verge of exhibiting a collective loss of faith in the old dream of space travel beyond our solar system.” And that may well be so, but in very real senses the dream lives on: witness the launch of India’s first mission to the moon this week, the sixth such national attempt in world history. (via SF Signal)

Written by gerrycanavan

October 20, 2008 at 4:01 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , , ,

Interstellar Travel

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Via the MetaFilter thread on that Nick Bostrom article hoping there’s no sign of alien life I blogged a few days ago comes an article by Charlie Stross on interstellar distances and the obscene costs that would be involved in traveling anywhere off-world.

When we look at the rest of the solar system, the picture is even bleaker. Mars is … well, the phrase “tourist resort” springs to mind, and is promptly filed in the same corner as “Gobi desert”. As Bruce Sterling has puts it: “I’ll believe in people settling Mars at about the same time I see people settling the Gobi Desert. The Gobi Desert is about a thousand times as hospitable as Mars and five hundred times cheaper and easier to reach. Nobody ever writes “Gobi Desert Opera” because, well, it’s just kind of plonkingly obvious that there’s no good reason to go there and live. It’s ugly, it’s inhospitable and there’s no way to make it pay. Mars is just the same, really. We just romanticize it because it’s so hard to reach.” In other words, going there to explore is fine and dandy — our robots are all over it already. But as a desirable residential neighbourhood it has some shortcomings, starting with the slight lack of breathable air and the sub-Antarctic nighttime temperatures and the Mach 0.5 dust storms, and working down from there.

Written by gerrycanavan

May 13, 2008 at 1:13 pm